Gangland task force will base gardaí in Spain if necessary

Garda working closely with European counterparts to counter gangs

The new Garda taskforce established to tackle organised crime in direct response to the Kinahan-Hutch gangland feud would base members in Spain and other jurisdictions if required,

Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony has said.

The Garda Síochána was working closely with police in Spain, Britain, the Netherlands and France, with Garda liaison officers posted there "to build up relationships, pass on information and to get things done", he told a media briefing in Dublin yesterday. In the past "operational" Garda members, who investigate crime, had been sent abroad as part of the approach to combating Irish criminals, he added.

“And if that is what’s required here, we will do the same,” he said in relation to dealing with the recent feud murders.


“One of the considerations that will be given to the new taskforce is to work closer and if necessary, to work in those countries.”

He said it was clear the violence witnessed on the streets of Dublin as part of the feud was being directed from abroad. But this had not dissuaded gardaí in the past. Gangland figures such as drug dealer John Gilligan and Brian Meehan, currently serving life for the Veronica Guerin murder in 1996, had been arrested abroad and brought back to Ireland to be convicted, he pointed out.

False passport

Amid reports that a rogue former Garda member had sourced a false passport for a Kinahan gang member, Mr O’Mahony said he did not believe any gardaí or former members had breached the security of the investigation into the Kinahan gang.

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said while any criminal involved in the feud would be targeted, the Garda was determined to catch "middle men" and facilitators who aided those involved by sourcing mobile phones, getaway cars and other items for them.

The top criminals in the feuding gangs were obvious key targets but there was now a particular focus on those putting in place the logistics for the gangs to commit crimes and to carry out gun murders, he explained.

He and his colleagues were determined that “good would win out over evil” in beating the feuding gangs and making safe the communities where the recent murders had taken place.

The officers were speaking at a briefing to set out progress being made in the investigations into feud-related activity.

Since Friday, February 5th, when David Byrne from Crumlin was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra in the first of six feud murders in the Republic, 23 people had been arrested, he said. About 100 searches had been carried out, 21 firearms seized and 7,000 lines of inquiry had been identified.

Armed checkpoints

Some 2,600 statements had been taken and 2,500 high visibility and armed checkpoints conducted. The

Criminal Assets Bureau

was tracking money and more arrests were anticipated, involving suspects based in Ireland and outside the jurisdiction, he added.

Assistant Commissioner Eugene Corcoran, the head of the bureau, said new proposals enabling Garda and Customs officers to seize smaller sums of money from criminals than current thresholds allowed should increase the number of minor criminals being targeted.

Supt Finbar Murphy, who is in charge of the investigation into the murder of Byrne at the Regency Hotel, revealed the inquiry team had gathered several years of CCTV footage which was being prioritised for viewing.

Supt Dan Flavin, who is heading the team investigating the feud murders of Eddie Hutch, Michael Barr and Gareth Hutch, described the level of assistance from the local north inner city community in Dublin as "absolutely phenomenal".

He urged people to continue to come forward and said anyone who recorded footage of any of the various attacks or the suspects on their mobile phones could contact the Garda in complete confidence.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times